DEEPAM AGGARWAL ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING (GLOBAL AND CANADIAN PERSPECTIVE

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ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING (GLOBAL & CANADIAN PERSPECTIVE)

Advertising attracts us in numerous ways. Although it’s just few centuries old but it has grown by heaps and bounds since the industrial revolution. However, there are a lot of associated controversies which could leave a huge impact on Society, Ethics and the Economy.

ADVERTISING INDUSTRY

Advertising industry is one of the fastest growing industries that determine the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of any country. Apart from being an intermediary between the manufacturers and consumers, it has a significant role in the economy of the country. For the resources, the advertising industry necessitates investment. It is hard to measure the degree of development by analyzing the inputs in the economy which fetches some production. Effective and efficient execution of the projects with the help of new technology and science is what time demands.

TOP ADVERTISING COMPANIES

The Top most advertising companies in the world are:     OMNICORN PUBLICIS INTERPUBLIC WPP. DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING

In Canada, they are Leo Burnett, DDB, BBDO, Rethink, Cossette, Taxi, John St, Proximity, Lg2, Sid Lee, Grey, Red Urban and many more…

TYPES OF MEDIA AND THEIR PROFILES

Advertising Medium Magazines

Advantages

Drawbacks

Target audiences, Format, Visual Quality, Long Life Span, and Audience Receptivity.

Expensive, Long Lead Times, Not Flexible Impermanence, Background Format, Attention of people during advertisements.

Radio

Low cost, Reaches millions, Target Market.

Television

Target Market, Mass Coverage, Strong Impact

High Costs and Intrusive.

Newspapers

Timeliness, broader geographic opportunities, Credibility.

Small ads can look minuscule in front of the large paper size, competition with other advertisements; it stays only for a day or two.

Online

Large-scale distribution capability, costefficient, more targeted, Expert Insight

Copy and Piracy, spam emailing and frauds, High Level of Clutter.

Direct Mail

Customer Specific, Targeting specific

Junk Mail, High Costs and

Market, Analyzing Data, Measurable Outdoor High reach, Eye-catching, Quick rise in sales, Awareness advertising

Errors Expensive, Secondary medium, visibility issues, limited information

CANADIAN PERSPECTIVE STATISTICS OF ONLINE ADVERTISING SPENDING IN CANADA

According to an E-marketer forecast, the total spending on online advertising will reach CA$3.08 billion by the end of 2012, which is almost an increase of 16.3% as compared to the figures of 2011. This is expected to continue and reach CA$4.51 billion in 2016.

ADVERTISING REGULATION

Advertising Regulation refers to the laws and regulations which define the ways of advertising the products in a particular region. Regulations define numerous aspects like the timing, content and the placement of an advertisement.

CANADIAN ADVERTISING

The criteria for acceptable advertising are set by The Canadian Code of Advertising Standards. The Code is a keystone of advertising self-regulation to promote professional practice in Canada. It is administered by ASC and is updated frequently to assure it is up-to-date with consumer and societal expectations. It has 14 clauses that determine the acceptability of an advertisement; which is accuracy, truthfulness and fairness of an advertisement. Review from customer, special interest groups complaint and trade disputes help form these clauses.

CANADIAN CODE OF ADVERTISING STANDARDS – 14 CLAUSES

CLAUSE 1: Accuracy and Clarity: It basically refers to the general information delivered through the advertisement. That is:    Advertisements should not have any inaccurate, misleading claims. They should not advertise anything in a manner that is deceptive. All the details and information should be clear and understandable.

Disclaimers and asterisked information should not contradict the message delivered and should be clearly visible or audible.

Identification of an advertiser should be clear in an advocacy advertisement.

CLAUSE 2: Disguised Advertising techniques  No Advertisement should be presented in such a way that it hides its commercial intent.

CLAUSE 3: Price Claims  Advertisements should not include any deceptive price claims or discounts in any manner. A deceptive term might include Regular Prices, Suggested Retail Price and Fair Market Value etc. in an advertisement.  Where there are price discounts, qualifying statements such as “up-to”, “YY off” should be mentioned along with the regular prices.  If Prices are other than in Canadian funds, it must be identified.

CLAUSE 4: Bait and Switch: The sale products should not be misrepresented to the consumers. That is, if sale item is limited, it must be clearly mentioned.

CLAUSE 5: Guarantees: A guarantor or warrantor is required to provide his/her name in order to offer guarantee or warrantee along with the fully explained conditions and terms.

CLAUSE 6: Comparative Advertising: An advertisement must not claim the superiority of its products over other competing products.

CLAUSE 7: Testimonials: Testimonials should reflect the genuinity and the recent opinion of a consumer. It should be based on the proper information about the product advertised.

CLAUSE 8: Professional or Scientific Claims: Advertisements must not change the true meaning about the statements or comments made by the professionals and should also not claim the scientific claims about the products which in actual they do not possess.

CLAUSE 9: Imitation: Advertiser should not copy or imitate the slogans or any material of another advertiser.

CLAUSE 10: Safety: Advertisers should not encourage any sort of unsafe or dangerous practices until the genuine reason is there.

CLAUSE 11: Superstitions and Fears: Consumers should not be misled by the advertisements on the basis of the superstitions or any kind of fear they might have.

CLAUSE 12: Advertising to Children: Advertising to children should not be done in such a manner that it results in moral, emotional or physical harm to them. Advertisements directed to Children are regulated separately by Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children.

CLAUSE 13: Advertising to minors: Products that are prohibited for minors should not be advertised in a way that the products appeal them and also the people in the advertisements should be adults.

CLAUSE 14: Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals: Under Clause 14, advertisements should not particularly offend anyone based on any form of discrimination.

("The 14 clauses,"n.d)

Unethical and Ethical Advertising

Unethical advertising methods use falsehoods to deceive the public, ethical advertising uses truthful facts to deceive the public. (Vilhajalmur Stefansson, 1964) In advertisements, what is right and what is wrong is not possible. If advertisements change the personal characteristics of customers and alter their buying ethics by not guiding them properly or by falsehood, the advertisements become unethical. However, little exaggeration and manipulations are acceptable. They are not considered as unethical. Therefore, the advertisements that use terms like long lasting, recommended by doctors, best etc., are permissible and are considered as ethical.

Ethical Issues in Advertising

Since advertising is a highly visible activity, any sort of loopholes in the ethical standard could be cumbersome for the advertisers. There are a lot of ethical issues involved in advertising; few of them are:

ETHICS IN ADVERTISING

STEREOTYPING

PROMOTING UNHEALTHY PRODUCTS

SUBLIMINAL ADVERTISING

ADVERTISING TO CHILDREN

PUFFERY

CONTROVERSIAL ADVERTISEMEN TS

Ethics in Advertising

   

Advertisements should not mislead the customer/consumer. An advertiser must fulfill his/her promises Advertisements should not have any vulgarity. Should follow the set guidelines made by the concerned authority of the country.

Regardless of the above mentioned ethics, there are some more ethical standards that should be followed in the advertisements:

According to the Canadian code of Ethical Standards, no goods or services offered in the advertisements should have any sort of defects or deficiencies in any form.

Products offered should not be portrayed in such a way that it shows it has some sort of magical powers, super natural quality etc. which is otherwise hard to prove.

Audible material and pictures in the advertisements should not be extremely loud.

MORAL PRINCIPLES OF ADVERTISING

1. Admire Honesty:    Avoid deliberate misleading. Avoid using untrue information Never alter the facts by implying such things which are not so withholding the appropriate facts.

2. Respecting the morality of each human being: Show respect to the young, elderly and weak, children and the poor people.

3. Regard Social responsibility: Advertisements should not favor such lifestyles that waste resources and ravage the environment.

CONCLUSION The ethics in advertising is very argumentative and a controversial issue, as it is entirely related to consumer’s traditions, values, norms and life style. Some practices which are acceptable in one culture or tradition might not be acceptable in the other. Hence, ethics in advertising cannot have any fixed or definite rules. These issues are increasing with the increase in globalization in some cultures.

Advertisers are adopting unethical means to attract the consumers particularly the youth and the children who are highly influenced by the amusing characteristics of these products which further results in the diseases diagnosed in the consumers. Unethical behavior is very common among the advertisers in Canada as well as world over.

References
1. Butt, S. (2009, May 6). Ethics in advertisement. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/41076679/Ethics-in-Advertisement 2. Canadian online advertising revenue survey. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.iabcanada.com/wpcontent/uploads/2010/09/Canadian_Online_Advertising_Revenue_Survey_en.pdf 3. Bethapudi. (n.d.). Ethical issues in advertising. Retrieved from http://www.mairec.org/IJRFM/Dec2011/5.pdf 4. Canada online ad spending-2012. (2012, April 25). Retrieved from http://www.public.site2.mirror2.phi.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1008999 5. Advertisers, C. (2012, Summer). Canada's top advertising agencies. Retrieved from http://www.adbrands.net/ca/index.html 6. The 14 clauses of the canadian code of advertising standards. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.adstandards.com/en/standards/the14Clauses.aspx